Apple’s Face ID Detects Masks & Photos Which Fool Other Face Recognition Systems
Researchers were able to bypass facial recognition systems at airports and payment systems by AliPay and WeChat. The same tests were performed on iPhone X's Face ID, but the tests could not fool Apple's facial recognition technology.
Kneron, an artificial intelligence company, performed some tests by using 3D masks and photos in various places in Asia where facial recognition tech is commonly used. The researchers were able to fool the facial recognition tech in AliPay and WeChat payment systems to make purchases from another person's account. This means that anyone with malicious intent could replicate the same steps as the researches and perform payments from other user's accounts.
Researchers from Kneron were also able to gain access at Schiphol Airport in Netherlands and rail stations in China, which take advantage of facial recognition technology. The systems were fairly easy to trick - just a photo on a phone was enough to fool the systems into authorizing access and process payments.
While these systems used in public places were easy to trick, iPhone X's Face ID could not be fooled through any of the methods that Kneron tried. Apple's combination of hardware and secure algorithms proved to be smart enough to differentiate between high-quality 3D masks and actual people.
Despite the seemingly grim security situation of public facial recognition systems, solutions are already available. As per a statement by Kneron's CEO Albert Liu to Fortune:
"This shows the threat to the privacy of users with sub-par facial recognition that is masquerading as “AI”." Kneron's CEO Albert Liu said. "The technology is available to fix these issues but firms have not upgraded it. They are taking shortcuts at the expense of security."
Unfortunately, the systems where facial recognition is weakest are the ones where consumers do not have any choice or control over. Unlike iOS and Android, where security updates can be installed to improve such issues, these public systems are at the mercy of corporations who may or may not find it financially feasible to fix these flaws.